European capitals stick together

Article published on Oct. 31, 2007
Article published on Oct. 31, 2007
Examples explode. Let’s take Lisa Bellini : this young Parisian civil servant working for the Ministry of the Equipment spent two years with her counterparts in London from 2004 to 2005.  The huge success of Vélib’ or the social housing reform in Paris : all these actions are inspired by our European neighbours. By the way, why not adapt other European Union’s successful experiences ?

A housing blueprint for London until 2011

In 2005, engaged new cooperation alliances with many European capitals. The aim : to modernize the management of the urban development and, more broadly, to improve the life quality of the people living in megalopolis. Taking his first mandate in 2000, Ken Levingston, ’s mayor, launched a Council flat policy in the British capital 50 000 new council houses should be built until 2011. For many years, Paris has encountered great lacks in its social housing system. The tents that were recently settled on the threshold of the Saint-Martin channel by the association Les enfants de Don Quichotte (“The Don Quichotte’s children”) is a speaking example. Any time when the new academic year starts, students face many obstacles to find a housing too.

Since then, and have worked together to find a way to adapt British solutions to the French capital. Summer 2007, bicycles invaded the streets of . The operation Vélib’ was, in part, the result of the French cooperation with . Indeed, for two years, the Danish capital has owned large parking areas dedicated to bicycles, as well as a “help yourself” service system. These facilities permit the inhabitants to use bicycles all the day long : for shopping, bringing the children to school and even trading. The Danish capital goes even further. For carrying more important packages, trailers can be used by the “Hippy” inhabitants of area, the Christina.

Urban centres are consequently less congested.

In Prague, a flooding alert system

Conversely, also shared its expertise. Parisian civil servants were sent to to work against the flooding that may endanger the Czech capital. In compensation, the French technicians discovered a system, finalized after the terrible , which consists in alerting the population in real time in case of a water threat, thanks to mobile phones. Improving the mobility of civil servants is another aspect of the European capitals cooperation. Launched in 2003, civil servants’ exchanges within the European Union have increased these last two years. In 2006 the  PragueMinistry in charge of the environment, the development and the town and country planning, hosted nine European civil servants (coming from England, Germany, Spain, Italy). Conversely, twelve French agents went to Great-Britain, Germany Denmark or Austria. These foreign experiences are the occasion to compare different working, conceptualization and implementation methods on the ground. As it is only in their daily life that citizens will realize the effects of these multiple European exchanges.

by Johara BOUKABOUS / Translation Sophie HELBERT